AMIDST many challenges, Pakistan conducted its general elections on Feb 8 that were marked by a decent turnout. Notably, no instances of rigging or controversy were observed during the polling process, but there have been some concerns that have been voiced by certain elements within the country and from abroad without any valid evidence produced so far.

The United States has called for a thorough and transparent investigation into the allegations of ‘election rigging’ in Pakistan, emphasising the need for adherence to the rule of law and respect for democratic principles. Similarly, both the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) have also voiced their concerns regarding the electoral process, urging a comprehensive probe into reported irregularities.

Mentioning allegations of interference and arrests of activists, the US and EU emphasised the necessity of investigating claims of irregularities, interference and rigging.

This is a pure and simple interference by foreign entities in Pakistan’s internal affairs. In the realm of international relations, the principle of non-interference serves as a cornerstone of diplomacy and sovereignty, advocating that nations abstain from meddling into each other’s internal affairs. It is apparently quite straightforward, but the application and implications of non-interference are complex and subject to global debate.

Furthermore, non-interference fosters mutual respect and trust among nations. By refraining from interfering in each other’s internal matters, countries can promote equality and reciprocity in their interactions, fostering an environment conducive to peaceful coexistence and collaboration.

Besides, foreign meddling is universally disapproved and goes against the ethical principles. The recent elections were conducted in a transparent and equitable environment, allowing unrestricted participation and voting. No country in the world permits anti-state elements to contest elections. Instead, they are dealt with as per the laws of the land. Any limitations imposed on certain individuals were rooted in the legal framework and regulations of the country, rather than the dictates of any individual or institution. It is imperative for the global community to grasp these fundamental principles.

Pakistan has rightly emphasised that the country’s election process is solely an internal affair, and, thus, it does not require external guidance. Moreover, foreign observers, including those from the Commonwealth, were welcomed during the general elections on Feb 8, demonstrating Pakistan’s commitment to fulfilling its constitutional obligations.

However, it is important to realise that interference by foreign countries in Pakistan’s internal affairs is totally unwelcome and deserves condemnation. Pakistan is not a nation that is governed arbitrarily; rather, anti-state elements are rigorously addressed in accordance with the established laws of the land.

Abdul Basit Alvi
Muzaffarabad

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2024

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